Stockholm – The Swedish government pledged 84 million kronor (10 million dollars) in humanitarian aid for Zimbabwe on Thursday, but said it wants to see more reforms in place before it resumes direct aid to the government.
“Sweden is prepared to give more humanitarian aid but a stronger involvement in the country hinges on reforms taking immediate effect and that they have an impact,” International Development Cooperation Minister Gunilla Carlsson said.
About 34 million kronor were to be channelled via the International Red Cross Committee (ICRC) and the remainder via the United Nations and its consolidated appeal, Carlsson added.
The UN appeal funds were to be distributed via various UN agencies including the UN’s childrens fund UNICEF, the UN food and agriculture agency FAO as well a non-governmental groups like World Vision, Mercy Corps and Save the Children UK.
The focus of these efforts was on health, water and sanitation as well as small-scale agriculture.
Carlsson repeted earlier calls for the immediate release of all political prisoners and that the rule of law be reinstated as well as “end to the political violence” and that the freedom of the press be restored.
Sweden has previously welcomed the unity government formed between Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF, and hoped it “would provide a step towards resolving the crisis” in the southern African nation. (dpa)